Saturday, December 31, 2011

Operation Jack NW

Monday, December 26th, began cold and foggy, but without rain. With the race site just a few minutes from home, it was a relaxed morning. My most important plan for the day was to remain relaxed. I tend to hyper focus on races and this leads to anxiety…and, as any runner knows, anxiety leads to GI issues. Having had my share of those issues, I really wanted a day with as few pit stops as possible. Rising early enough to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal led to a bit of time to check in of Facebook and Twitter—all about staying relaxed, you understand! The time came to wake the hubs for my ride to Summer lake Park. We arrived 30 minutes before start time and he gave me a good luck kiss before heading off to somewhere warm!

I was able to set up my things in the covered area and meet several runners, including a couple more Pdx Running Chicks! A couple of minutes before 8:00 am, the rules were given by race director Steve Walters. And then it was time to move. A total of 41 runners had entered planning to run any number of laps. Two new friends were running a half and another was doing a supported long run for 16-18 miles. I was going the full 6 hours with an eye at a 50k. The course was a 0.95 mile loop around a small park with a pond and bridges, a very enjoyable place to run with asphalt and some concrete sidewalk.

The first 3 laps were hard. The start is always hard for me. It takes time to warm up and with the cold, achy muscles; I begin to wonder if I can accomplish the task before me. After the third lap, I took off a layer and started to really get into the groove. My Garmin beeped at me every 12 minutes. I would walk 1-2 minutes and then run to the next beep. Many others were doing the same, but a few were flying on by me. I love watching faster runners and this was a great course to see them often! I ran by myself much of the time, but enjoyed those laps with others. Time was flying by and I was feeling great! I kept reminding myself there was lots of time left and keep the pace really easy.

Somewhere around 17 miles, my sister-in-law and her family came to cheer. I had been smiling all along, but that sure perked my spirits even higher. Jen came dressed to join me for a few laps. We don’t get to run together often so the company and the conversation were great. She walked when I walked and ran when I ran. Each time we completed a loop, the kids and her husband were cheering. Then hubs showed up, too, with both dogs. Of course, Indy saw me running and had one thought—mom’s running so I get to run. I put the running leash around my waist and he began to pull me along.

Close to noon, I needed to walk a little more and was starting to “feel” my legs. Jen and I walked a bit more of the last lap that she was with me. Then she and her family were off to visit family and hubs took the dog and headed out to return at 1:30 to watch me finish up. A couple of laps later, I was hurting. My right ITB was cramping enough that it would catch and I couldn’t run. Toward the end of the lap, it would catch and nearly give out and the left ITB was starting to cramp, too. I remember looking at the time—12:20. I ran through a variety of scenarios in my mind. Was it too cold on my legs? Did I need some fuel that I wasn’t getting? How was I going to get this stopped to keep moving? The goal was to keep moving 6 hours. Forward progress.

Arriving at the aid station, I told a friend that I was struggling. Rose reminded me that cramps were either fatigue or lack of salt. I really needed that bit of reassurance. I put on some fleece pants, ate some potato chips and headed out to walk a lap. During that lap, I walked, I stretched, I walked some more. Arriving back at the aid station a full 17 minutes later, I was feeling a little better. Some pretzels and a salt tab and I headed back out for another lap. At that point, I knew I could finish. It may mean walking the rest, but I would finish. The 50k had slipped through my fingers, but that B goal was waiting for me!

My mom would have been proud of the walking I did! I didn’t saunter. I bent my arms into 90 degrees and I put one foot in front of the other as fast as I could. And I smiled. The smile was more than just a mind game to bring up my spirits. I was happy. I was excited. I was going to accomplish my goal—even if it killed me—which I knew it wouldn’t. I tried running a couple of times, but man it hurt. And I was walking faster than the run. So I just kept walking. Seven laps. I walked 7 laps with the last 4 at a 14:00 pace.

Jeff arrived near the end and walked the last lap with me. I loved that. And when I crossed the finish line on my last lap, my sister was there, too! I may be a bit obsessive with my running—okay, fine, I AM obsessive—but my family is so supportive. Jeff doesn’t even begin to understand my passion for running, but he was there at the beginning, middle and end. He won’t say it (as that might mean he doesn’t think it is insane), but he is proud of me and happy that I have something I enjoy so much.

Overall, I am very happy at my first technical ultra. No, that 50k did not happen. It was a good goal, difficult, but attainable. I truly believe if my legs had held up s bit longer, I could have made it. However, that B goal was attained. I did keep moving the entire time and completed great than marathon distance. So, yes, it is an ultra. But I can not call myself an ultra marathoner just yet. I will. In time. That ultra is out there. Maybe next fall at Autumn Leaves. Maybe another time. It is coming. I can feel it in the not so far future.

Ninja Runner! 

My awesome sister-in-law, Jen.

Crawling to the finish...the hardest part of this photo was getting back up!

Official Stats:
Distance: 27.55 miles
Time: 5:52:50
Overall: 11/41
Gender: 4/19

Garmin Stats:
Distance: 27.84 miles
Time: 5:52:47

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nearly Here...

Yes, Christmas is close, but so is my first 6 hour race! 

I do love Christmas, but will not see any of my family so I am not super excited about it.  I love my in-laws and the big party was last Saturday with a smaller get together on Friday evening.  Yet there is nothing like being with my siblings who know everything about me and still love me.  Those traditions of opening gifts on Christmas Eve while saving the stockings for Christmas morning.  Oh, the fun of stockings!  Mom loved to find the most unusual little things to throw in to add to the laughs.  Christmas is not the same without her...

Okay, on to the race...  Monday morning, December 26th, at 8 am it will start.  Six hours around a .95 mile loop.  Fortunately, it is a pretty little loop and I will get to see the other runners often!  (And there is an actual toilet at the aid station!)  My training is a little haphazard as I just signed up and only had 2 runs over 3 hours.  Those two runs I practiced a run walk technique.  The first was an 8:2 ratio and the second was a 9:1.  Both worked well, but I am leaning toward a 10:2.  Eight minutes of running ends so quick as does only 1 minute of walking.  Of course, as I tire, anything goes to keep moving.  I did discover that walking was almost harder late in the 4 hour run. 

Then there is the of my biggest struggles.  PB & J is okay early, but is unsettling later.  Plain old white dinner rolls work throughout.  Bananas worked wonderfully and a boiled egg with lots of salt was delicious!  Nuun is the best for keeping my stomach happy and the trips to the bathroom at bay.  My goal will be to eat and drink.  If my stomach goes sour, hopefully, it will be very late in the race...  Otherwise, I will keep working at it and moving along. 

I really do believe, that if all goes well, I can do a full 50k.  That is definitely my A Goal.  Other than that is getting to the marathon distance.  If everything goes poorly, I just want to keep moving for the whole 6 hours.  For the next few days, my biggest goal is to stay calm and not let the race nerves get me!  That is truly my biggest downfall!.

If you happen to be in Tigard near Summerlake park next Monday, stop by and offer some encouragement or even run a couple of laps!  The fun is almost here!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Did I really just do that?!

I did it.  I registered for my first Ultra...or it may be an ultra...  It is Operation Jack Northwest Run.  Six hours on a 0.95 mile loop.  The great part is the park is a couple of miles from my house and I run there often.  The thing is it is December 26th, yes, a mere 3 1/2 weeks away...  And, uh, yeah, my longest run this year is 16 miles and that was last spring...I think I may be crazy...  Fortunately, I have added a lot of cross training the last couple of months.  So even though my mileage is in the low 30s, I am in pretty good shape for endurance. 

An ultra is on my bucket list.  I was thinking in a year or two, but this one will work.  My A goal is to hit 50k.  That is a pretty aggressive goal since I haven't been training, but I think it is doable.  Other than that I will shoot for a marathon and a C goal of moving the entire 6 hours. 

Excuse me, I need to go work out...NOW!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Live with Gratitude

Live today with thanksgiving.  Not because it is a holiday, but rather as an extension of every day life.  I am no more thankful for my blessings today than I am any other day.  Everything I hold dear can be gonein the blink of an eye. I dare not hold back my gratitude for a single day.  If I do I may miss the simple act of treasuring those gifts.  Giving thanks everyday is a reminder to hold close to the true blessings and letting the rest go.  Today many will gather round the table and give thanks.  May we remember to take that spirit and carry it through every day of our lives.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sweat Your Thorns Off 5k

Thanks to The Boring Runner, I tortured myself with another race.  Not so long ago I swore off racing, but a virtual race would be better right? 

Indiana Jones & I are ready to head out complete with race bib!

Since I had no thorns, I figured I should at least sweat so I waited until later in the day to head out.  Of course, due to my scattered brain, I started even later than planned...  Got in the car with my favorite four pawed pacing partner (i.e. dog) and did a couple of errands before heading out to Champoeg State Park.  Driving south, I was dreaming about flat paths and how everything was going to go.  Then it hit running shoes...I had left my shoes at home.  No, running in the VFFs on my feet was not an option, so we turned around to get the shoes.  And then off again...

Finally to the park!
Indy & I finally arrived about 12:30 and did a couple miles warm up and a few strides.  And we were off!  I planned an out and back along the asphalt path in the park.  Although not even close to the temps of the non-virtual race in Arizona, it was plenty warm for me!  The sweat was rolling off.  At the beginning of mile 3, I passed an older couple with their granddaughters and the cutest tiny Pom.  Yeah, I know it was a race, but I stopped anyway.  We chatted for a few minutes while Indy greeted their dog and was adored by the girls.  I headed on out to finish up.  Finished in 26:03--a sort-of PR.  (Twenty seconds quicker, but with the extended stop not gonna count it.)  All I can hope is that I win the Female, 43, Running with Dog Division.

The park edges along the Willamette River south of Portland. 

As for the number 23...years ago we numbered our family for a reunion.  Each person was numbered according to when they becam a member of the Barringer clan.  Dad, 1; Mom, 2; oldest sister, 3; etc...   My mom (2) and oldest sister (3) have passed away therefore the 2 and 3.  Put them together for 23 and you have the number of my husband and best friend.  So 23 has become a bit of a specail number to me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Find a Penny

Find a penny, pick it up and all day you'll have good luck. At least that is how the saying goes.  However, my dad did it a little different.  If he found a penny, he would pick it up.  But instead of hoping for luck, he would attribute it to a lesson from God.  As a preacher, Dad could make almost anything a parable!  He would hold that penny and study it.  Then he would quote Philipians 4:19.  "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Last week, I was running up the last hill toward home.  I glanced down.  It took a moment for my brain to register.  A couple of steps and I realized it was a penny on the road.  I laughed out loud.  It was bred into me.  I stopped, turned around and picked up that penny.  In a whisper, I quoted, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Dad's legacy continues.

On one of our many camping trips. Me, Dad and Melanie

Dad with his dad at Black Pine Lake.

Dad with my brother, Bernie, on Christmas in Aberdeen

Dad loves tractors!  Showing Ben how to drive up Beaver Creek.

One of my favorite memories!  A whole afternoon with jusst me and Dad!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Own Worst Enemy: A Race Report

I am not going into mile by mile detail about the Helvetia Half yesterday.  The race was very well organized.  I was able to meet Stacie of Impossible is Nothing and saw Amanda of Runninghood as well as a couple of other friends.  The course was even more hilly than I expected, but absolutely gorgeous.  My goal was to run strong and hopefully finish another half under 2 hours. 

Stacie and I after the race. It was her second of 4 halfs in June and a new PR!

With my recent difficulty in racing, I tried some new things this week.  I hydrated very well, ate cleanly and didn't even think about a PR.  I had no dairy later in the week and very little sugar.  My GI system felt great.  I was sure this was going to fix my running runs issue. 

I can blame pollen or asthma or hills or anything else.  Yet it comes down to one thing--anxiety.  In addition to my struggles with depression, I have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder).  More information than you may want to know, I realize.  I seem to be able to train through anything without too much trouble--well, except the occasional running runs...  However, put me in a race and I need more porta-potties than a race director can possibly expect.  Put me in a race and my lungs tighten up and I cannot get a deep breath.  Leaving me with a tendency to severe side stitches and asthma attacks. 

Yesterday brought home that it is not my training.  My recent racing issues are clearly mental.  All the positive mantras cannot seem to get me past the fear of being surrounded by people I do not know.  When it is just me and the road, I can run forever.  Me, the road, lots of people and a finish line and I cannot relax. Things were going reasonably well until someone talked to me.  It was a long hill during mile 7 and I was doing my regular race breathing--heavy and shallow.  A woman simply said, "You can do it.  Try to breath deeper."  I smiled and thanked her.  Just that interaction made me emotional.  I tried her suggestion as my side was in bad shape from breathing too shallow.  Just a couple of moments and I had a pretty bad asthma attack.  Enough that I had to sit at the side of the road to try to catch my breath.  I was so grateful for the two people that stopped and checked on me.  Both were so kind.  I finally caught my breath and began to walk.  In and out, slow and easy.  Mouth wide and relaxed.  The attack was easing, but I truly thought I was going to have my first DNF.  My breathing eased so I decided to run walk to the end.  If I started to struggle, I would walk. 

The biggest frustration was that my legs were not even the slightest bit tired.  Those hills were just dragons to slay.  My sword plunged into the dragon's back with each step.  The hills did not beat me.  I was my worst enemy.  I was conquered by my own fear.  That is the reason I feel the most defeated.  The course was not my enemy.  I was. 

Official Time: 2:12:36
Overall: 1262/2731
Gender: 579/1692
Age Group: 104/262

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

May Summary

March Miles: 132.6
2011 Total: 513.3
Stationary Bike: 1x for 15.8 miles
Walking: 4x for 11.7 miles
Strength Training: 7x

The Good: Started the month with 2 weeks of great training and good mileage...  My long runs were good, especially the misdirected one.  Had a great tempo and one good interval workout.  Also started some serious core work with a medicine ball!

The Bad:  The last two weeks I missed runs and strength training workouts.  My mileage dropped from 36 miles the first week to 21 the last and it was NOT a cutback week.  The dark skies really made it hard to get out the door.  I miss my sunshine!

The Ugly:  My eating--sugar and high glygemic carbs were my downfall.  I added a couple of pounds and that was NOT in the plan!  All of this led to GI issues that changed my runs twice.  Had to quit on an interval workout and shortened another run.  Here is to a better June of writing down EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth!

Races:  Just the Up the Lazy River 10k.  Still gaining perspective, but truly believe my fueling non-strategy was a big culprit.  Next up Helvetia Half on June 11th!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mind Games (A Race Report)

Maybe you remember my description of the Up the Lazy River 10k--a great big, giant, killer hill just after mile 3.  Of course, I last ran it in '09 when I had been running less than a year.  The hill killed me.  That is what I remembered and took with me on Monday morning.  The problem with that is I had made this huge hill into the obstacle of the entire race.  I had forgotten all the other rolling hills.  And, the aforementioned hill was not as big and bad as I remembered.  In fact, it was much smaller than many hills I run on a daily basis.  Yet, I could not recover mentally. 

Hubby and I were at Mary S. Young Park early.  The weather was perfect for racing, cool and cloudy, but no rain.  My warm up went very well.  Easy jogging followed by dynamic stretching and some strides.  After I gathered my packet, I met one of our own great bloggers, Teri from (Long) Road to Paradise.  I did not recognize her and actually thought it was someone else.  She is as great as her posts and I enjoyed visiting for a few minutes.  She was co-race director so she had plenty on her plate!

A couple of concerns about the race were bothering me.  The hill... and the fact that my Garmin was not working.  I couldn't decide if I would race better without it or would I miss the feedback to keep me motivated.  This was going to be 10 kilometers of "running by feel."  That would be great if I had really practiced it. 

The first mile felt really good, of course.  I crossed the mile in about 8:30--faster than I would have liked, but not bad.  Mile 2 and 3 continued on a positive note just a bit slower than the first mile.  Just after the water station at mile 3 you turn a corner and meet the hill.  It took me by surprise. 

Why?  I don't know.  I knew it was there.  But it took the wind out of my sails.  Even as I was going up, I realized it wasn't as bad as I remembered.  Yet I just couldn't get my mind around it.  The plan was to take it easy the first of the hill and attack the last third.  I couldn't.  I walked most of the hill. I got passed by a guy running his first 10k while pushing a double stroller with toddlers.  Ouch!

The top of the hill was there with a sharp left turn.  I kept pushing and talked positive.  I would focus on someone ahead of me, but I was pretty alone on this stretch.  I passed mile 4--split 10:00.  Nothing that I could not recover from.  My quads were burning.  My side started to ache.  My lungs were working hard, but fine.  One of these days it will all come together.  I knew a PR was going to be really tough at this point.  It became harder to push through.  I kept passing walkers that had started before the run.  There were no runners to latch onto.  No one was coming up behind to push me forward.  I think that made it more difficult to hold on.  I passed mile 5 and knew a PR was not possible. 

The last mile was just me trying to hold on.  I would slow then push.  I knew I was getting close to the end.  I kept telling myself that it was almost over.  After all, I can do anything for just a few more minutes.  Then it was there--the finish line!  Push, push, push!  I crossed in 56:18, more than 1:20 off my PR.  Rats. 

A day later and the disappointment fades.  A few hours goes a long way to bringing perspective.  Not a great race, but not terrible.  I do think my Garmin would have been helpful to help me start a bit slower and help me push in the late, lonely miles.  Overall, I cannot complain.  I can only take the lessons learned and move forward.  However, I do think I would rather train than race.  I train great, but often race poorly.  Sigh...

Poor hubby!  He gets bored waiting for my races.  He does prefer 5 and 10ks to marathons though.

Ready to race!

The race is the Master's Championship for the club so all masters age groups are just one year.  I got 2nd of 2!  Wooohooo!

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Honor & Gratitude

Today I ran a race and spent time with my hubby.  I could do this because so many have sacrificed for my freedom.  All I can say is thank you.  Thank you to my brother, my nephew and my uncles for their service.  Thank you to all men and women who have served past and present.  Thank you to all the loved ones that have been left home to wait and hope.  You have my deepest gratitude.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me

Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Depression the deep dark hole that I fall into from time to time.  Sinking into the hole with little hope of escaping.  The darkness is overwhelming and suffocates the motivation from the marrow of my bones.  Life is in shades of gray.  The longer I am in the hole the more I want to stay there.  It is easier to remain buried than to try to dig out. 

Poking holes in the darkness takes more effort than I can manage.  I need help.  Yet the darkness is so suffocating I cannot speak.  Other times the darkness comes so slowly that I don't even realize I am surrounded until the bottom of the pit is at my feet.  Tears wait, but cannot be shed due to the sheer effort that would take.  Weak moments of joy break the darkness, but cannot be held onto. 

Breathing in and out.  That is all I can manage at this moment.  Sheer willpower causes my feet to move.  Knowing tasks must be done is the only pull at my psyche.  I will survive.  One day soon, the effort to poke holes in the darkness will be there.  I will grasp at the walls of my hole and pull myself up.  Light will return and the gray will turn to the colors of the rainbow. 

This hope is my salvation.  Until then, I will breathe in and out.  One day that breath will give me the strength to reach up.  I know that when I reach up, there will be a hand to grasp.  I will hold on with every ounce of strength as the hand will not let me go. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finally Spring!

Lilacs!  Reminders of childhood in the Methow Valley where there was a beautiful bush near the front door.  I loved when it began to bloom and I knew summer was coming!

New growth!  I love the new growth on evergreen trees.  The bright green contrast to the older needles are so soft.

"Sweet Olive" tomatoes.  Tiny tomatoes that are the perfect size for popping in the mouth!  Mmmmmm!
The color of green leaves against a clear blue sky--the perfect color combination!

New blooms in the flower bed signals the end of a very long winter and a very wet spring. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just Call Me "Wrong Way"

I don't know if you have ever heard of Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan.  He is actually more than a character from Gilligan's Island.  Well, that was actually "Wrong Way" Feldman... 

Anyway, on Monday I earned the nickname.  I took a wrong turn on my long run and ended way off course.  Truth is that it added a lot of hills and a couple of extra miles, but it was worth it in the end.  Seriously, when I crested the hill and saw where I was I laughed out loud.  I knew I was a long way from where I meant to be, but it was just funny.  I took a quick break at the Y and refilled my water.  Then I headed back out to the one road I was trying to avoid--Elwert.  Up and down and more ups and downs.  And there is very little shoulder.  And busier than I like.  Oh well...  I ended up meeting up with my husband as he finished his round of golf.  That kept me from another couple of miles and a big hill! 

The morning started with hubby driving me to the Mountain View cemetary.  My route started with a quick visit with my mom.  From there I headed toward home.  A gentle downhill for nearly a mile.  Then came the HILL--2.5 miles with an average 4.8% grade and a max of 7%.  Yes, I planned it that way! 

Visiting my mama

I approached the entire route with the intention of maintaining effort.  If that meant walking some of the hill then so be it.  And so it was.  Yet when I walked, I did not stroll, I kept it moving.  It was hard, but so much fun.  I remembered to look back a few times and enjoy the view as well as patting myself for working hard.  It was beautiful up in the hills.  I love running on narrow country roads where I hardly see another person and get stared at by cows.  From there is was a long down hill followed by a lot of rollers.  My splits were all over the place, but effort was consistent.  My slowest mile was 12:35 and fastest was 8:37. 

Looking back gave me the confidence to move forward.
I ended with just over 14.5 miles in 2:25 (9:56 average).  I truly loved almost every minute of the run.  Mentally, I focused well, switching internally and externally.  Even with the wrong route negativity did not enter the run.  There are good runs and bad runs.  Then there are runs that remind you why you put your shoes and get out the door.  This was one of those runs.  It reminded me how strong I am mentally and physically.  It reminded me that I can do what I set out to do.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Freaking AWESOME Day!

Began with a 14 miler with monster hills, followed by lunch with the hubs and chill time.  Ended with a book signing at Powell's in Beaverton where I got to meet Kara Goucher and Amanda from Runninghood!  More to come!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Writing is on the Wall...

So, yeah. I don't ♥ speedwork yet, but I can see the writing on the wall... A friend, Forever Run (aka Sara), from the Loop told me I would love speedwork someday.  That was about 18 months ago.  I laughed in her face...stupid me...  That is too much like saying "never."  Say that word and you are sure to do exactly that!  My mom always told me, "Never say never."  (Of course, she said never say always either and I just did.)  Sure enough the day is coming.  It might as well be painted in the lanes of the track. 

I still was very nervous about this week's intervals.  I ended up procrastinating one day for them.  However, I say it was because I wasn't feeling well.  After my work of the morning was finished, the dog and I headed to the track.  The plan was to run there unless it was too crowded.  Otherwise we would use the bike path.  It wasn't crowded, just a group playing Austrailian rules football in the infield and a few kids playing in the sand pit.  I did my usual warm up--skipping, grapevines, dynamic stretching and strides.  Then we began. 

The first was 2 miles at 10k pace (or somewhere in the 8:30s).  This scared me--8 laps trying to hold a steady pace.  Not my strong suit!  "Relax, find your groove."  I did!  It was HARD!  It was great!  16:58 (8:29) 

Now the die was cast.  The 8:29 average for the first interval meant I needed to keep the rest in the 8:20s.  No letting up!  The 4 mile repeats took a lot of focus!  I had finished what I expected to be the really hard interval and thought these would be easier...NOT!  I followed the things I have been learning and used positive self talk.  I changed my focus between internal and external stimuli based on where I was struggling.  If something internal was starting to cause negativity, I looked outside myself for distraction.  When it began to rain and the wind blew, I focused on cadence and relaxing my face and shoulders.  It worked.  I not only survived I rocked them! 

Once finished, Indy and I headed back to the trail for the run home.  I am not sure who was more tired.  For once he didn't seem to mind the slow going!  I really needed this to be a strong workout.  I needed the mental focus on something other than my regular life today.  Doing better emotionally and a few endorphins sure help!

Warm Up: 1.54 @ 10:08
16:58 (8:29), 8:25, 8:29, 8:22, 8:25
Cool Down: 1.46 @ 11:02

Thursday, May 05, 2011

April Summary

April Miles: 130.4
2011 Total: 380.8

Stationary Bike: 1x for 16 miles
Walking: 2x for 3.1 miles
Strength Training: 8x

High Point: Miles! My weekly mileage is finally back above 30.  That is a happy number for me.  I tend to thrive emotionally and physically at 30-35 miles per week.   Also, my interval workouts were fantastic!

Low Point: I had a couple of days that had some pain and stiffness in my hips/psoas.  A cutback week and extra ice seems to clear it up.  Cross training got left out a bit...

Best run(s): Definitely the mile repeats!  The entire workout was tough, but gave me such a huge confidence boost.

Races: Marine Park 5k.  No PR, but learned a few things and got to meet up with other bloggers!


Yep, I have been missing lately.  Feeling run down and fatigued of late.  Still running 30+ miles a week and enjoying that.  There are just some things that get me down.

1.  My oldest brother has cancer.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much this sucks.  He has surgery scheduled for June.  It hurts to even write about it.  He is my hero!  Too much pain after losing my sister in '96 and Mom in '04.  Prayers are greatly appreciated.

2.  Mother's Day.  I miss my mom so much.  There is still a huge hole in my heart.  I really don't know how I would survive if I didn't know that I will see her again.

Overall, I feel crappy.  My head has ached for days.  I have a low grade fever that comes and goes.  I am giving it until next week--post Mother's day grief--to see if it is psychosomatic or there is something going on.  But no fever tonight so tomorrow is trackwork!  Running intervals takes focus.  Focusing on running means I cannot brood.  Running is my therapy! 

Pity party over.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

The morning started at 8 am with 6 x Mile repeats at a nearby track. The track is 1.5 miles from the house the perfect warm up and cool down distance. The track is well used by the neighborhood and several walkers and runners were there on this beautiful day! The repeats were hard, but AWESOME! The plan was for 10k pace, but I haven't run one in nearly 2 years. So I decided on low 8:40s or maybe 8:30s if I was feeling good. All 6 repeats were in the 8:30s! I was very happy with how it went.

The afternoon was spent at the golf course... Hubby played 9 holes while I sat in the sunshine and finished my book. It was torture...NOT! It was a little piece of heaven! The book was great! I have already begun to put several ideas into my daily training. I am already seeing progress including how I approached the morning's workout.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Hunt for a PR

I set out this morning for a PR.  The weather was cool and damp, but no rain or wind.  The course was along the Columbia River and very flat.  I spent the week visualizing the race and getting menatlly prepared.  I even had someone to pace me--the amazing MildSauce from the Loop.  My PR was 26:23 and I really believed I could go sub 26 with possibly going close to 25:30.

I woke early after a good night's sleep.  Up and at 'em with my usual routine--breakfast, shower and gathering things together.  I was ready to go early and off Hubby and I went.  I was feeling surprisingly good as my hip had been bothering me soem earlier in the week.  Apparently lots of icing, rolling and Biofreeze did the trick.  Once we arrived, Hubby got out his book and I started my warm up.  An easy 15 minutes followed by a few drills and strides.  Everything felt smooth and I was ready for a huge PR! 

As start time neared, other Loopsters began to arrive.  First, Debrina59, then Coelle18 and finally MildSauce who already had 7 miles on the books with plans for another 6 after pacing me.  This was  the first time we had met Debrina and her husband had come along.  A bit of visiting and it was time to begin.  The Clark County Running Club saturday races are very low key.  A chalk start line with big clock and simple directions and more chalk lines.  No shirts, no bibs, no fuss.  For $2, it is a great value! 

A simple "Set, Go" and we were off.  No dodging, just off to the pace.  MildSauce and I visited for a moment and she said she would talk and I need not reply.  Good thing as it was not too long before I could not respond!  The first mile felt good--running hard, but felt like I could maintain for a while.  At about the mile mark was a short peninsula for an out and back.  Coming up a small slope, MildSauce nodded at a man ahead of us.  She smiled and said we could take him.  A short surge and we left him in the dust!  Waving at both Debrina and Coelle, we headed back on the main path.  MildSauce kept encouraging me and really helped keep me moving.  My legs felt awesome and strong.  My lungs not so much.  My usual wheezing started too soon.  We slowed, but I still couldn't catch my breathe.  A quick stop and a reminder to myself to keep the mouth wide and relax.  The turn around was a welcom sight! We were on the home stretch and hoped I could hold on.  Running the peninsula on the return was a tease!  I just wanted to keep heading back to the finish instead of 2 90 degree turns and a 180 turn.  With just a mile to go, my wheezing was not getting better, but not getting much worse either.  "Just relax.  Open the mouth and relax the face."  One more quick stop for catching a lung full of air.  MildSauce was awesome!  "You are doing great.  Perfect."  I know she said more, but it is a haze.  We rounded a corner and hubby was standing there with the camera.  I tried to smile a bit or at least not look like an angry maniac, but it didn't work.  Then I could see the finish line.  The was my focus.  MildSauce asked if I could pick it up.  I could.  I did!  I felt like I was running like the Garmin says different...  I noticed the clock.  26:21, 26:22..  I crossed the line!  26:23. 

No PR today.  It was a great effort that would not have happened without the help of my Loop pacer.  I know that 5k PR is right there.  I may register for another one soon.  Or I may not.  All I know is that for me a 5k hurts just as much as a marathon.  The pain may be a little different, but it hurts the same.  

More visiting and some amazing homemade cookies, finished Mini Loopfest 2 of 2011!  Running friends are the BEST!  

Pushing it with all I had left to get to that finish line!
If having nothing left at the finish means you ran well, I ran the perfect race...
MildSauce was AWESOME! 
Mini Loopfest 2: Coelle18, Debrina59, juanitagf, MildSauce

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Memories of Lynda

I remember the first moment I held my first niece, Lynda Michelle.  At just 4 days old, she seems to melt into my arms.  I had never held such a beautiful baby.  At 10 years old, I hadn't held many babies.  She was not a tiny baby, but she was so cuddly and soft.  There was a moment when I knew I would do anything to protect her.  She was not my own yet she was a part of me.  Her mother was my idol and now she had an amazing little girl. 

Growing up, Lynda and her younger sister spent a lot of time visiting my parents.  I loved the excitement of preparing for their visit.  Mom and Dad would talk about everything they wanted to do with the girls.  Each spring, Mom would order chicks, but she would always wait for delivery until the girls were there.  We all loved the joy on their faces when they held them.  My mom would cry when the girls would go home.  She loved all her grandchildren, but Lynda and Donella had a very special place in her heart.  The rest of the summer would seem lifeless without the girls bringing wild flower bouquets from the walks on the property. 

Lynda grew up and her life expanded.  Visits became less frequent.  It is the manner of life.  She finished high school and got a job.  She began college.  She was surrounded by family and friends that loved her.  And then it was over.  In one moment, she was gone.  Another driver made a decision that changed life.  She choose to have another drink, then she got in her car.  The consequences were devastating.    In only one moment, Lynda was absent from the body and present with the Lord.  It doesn't seem right.  It isn't fair.  Yet it is.  There is a purpose.  I cannot see it, but I know that somehow, somewhere God used a tragedy to bring joy.  

Lynda's first Easter. 

Lynda would often sleep with me during their visits.

Playing games with family

Lynda Michelle Frein

11/14/77 - 4/13/00

Friday, April 08, 2011

Get Ready to RAMBLE!

Great way to start the day--6x800s.  The best part of the morning run?  SUNSHINE!  It was a skrt and tank sort of day!  Gotta love those!  I programmed my Garmin for the run and decided to do them on the Fanno Creek trail so the dog could come along.  I thought I would shoot for about 8:15 pace.  Does making conservative goals make me push to surpass them or should I set really tough goals and possibly not make them?  I don't know.  After my 5k next week, I will plug the numbers into McMillan and see what he has to say.  I think setting conservative goals may be good for me as I push hard enough as it is--sometimes too hard.  Now I know you are wondering how it worked out.  Better than I expected considering how tired my legs have been this week.  Here they are: 8:06, 8:10, 8:06, 7:58, 8:00, 7:48.  The last one was hurting so I stopped for a moment and told myself to calm down and chill out.  After that, I really relaxed and actually sped up.  Sometimes I sabotage myself by trying too hard.  I am happy with the workout.  My mental focus could have been better at times, but overall a very good effort.  And I made a very happy dog by avoiding the track!

From there hubby and I headed to lunch at my favorite place.  Mmmmmm, Cheesecake Factory!  I had a Santa Fe Chicken Salad.  Sooo yummy!  It has an amazing peanut cilantro dressing.  I can't even finish the lunch portion!

Such a nice day so hubby plans to play golf.  With only one car, I go with him and take the car.  He texts me when he tees off the 8th so I can meet him when he is done.  (More rambling...)  I have birthday money from my mother-in-law burning a hole in my pocket so I head off to REI.  I want to try the Vibrams.  I am barefoot 90% of the time--pretty much anytime I am not running.  I would love to have something like them to wear around doing errands and such.  REI is notorious for taking FOREVER to get assistance in the shoe department. I wait a long time to just get someone to pull my size, then the next size up...  I wear them around and look at other things.  Gotta try them out.  I LOVE them.  If I use our dividend, it will take all my birthday money.  I decide to go for it.  When I check out, the lady asks if I would like to use a 20% off coupon, too.  Uhhh, duh, YES!  I got a great deal on the Classic Five Fingers model.  Of course, when hubby saw them he laughed.  I knew he would. 

Being such a gorgeous day, hubby wanted to play a full 18 holes.  Hmmm, what to do?  Ahhhh, massage!  My favorite massage therapist doesn't work in the afternoons, but she trained a couple of people in the office.  "Okay, does one of them have an opening?"  "Yes, 30 minutes."  "I'll be there!"  Well, not only did he have 30 minutes, he didn't have a next appointment.  He gave me a full 60 minutes for the price of the 30!  I feel so much better!  I will schedule with him again.  Just the right amount of pressure and really worked the usual runner spots!

Now, I sit checking blogs, FB and Twitter while the Mariner's home opener is on--oh, now the Blazer game--back to baseball.  Hubby definitely has the remote!  Back to work tomorrow after a really great day off!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Note to Nike, Asics, Saucony, Etc.

After reading Small Town Runner's blog on stability shoes and ankle injuries, I thought I should get my gait looked at again.  I had been wearing neutral shoes, but recently switched to stability.  I wondered why one place put me in neutral and another in stability.  My recent ankle injury with some ITB soreness made me think that maybe the wrong shoes could be contributing.  I headed back in and did the whole rigamarole.  Hmmm, seems that I am a neutral--and a stability.  My left side is neutral.  The side with the ankle issues is a neutral running in a stability shoes.  My right on the other hand needs a stability shoe.  Since switching to stability, I have not had any blisters. 

I have a solution.  Shoe companies take note!  Please make shoes that are interchangeable.  Create a line of  matching shoes that have different traits.  That way I can purchase a stability for my right foot and a neutral for my left.  As long as you are doing it, please leave a wide toebox and narrow heel.  I am sure I am not the only one with this delimma. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The "C" Word

Grief permeates
Every moment infused
Sorrow overwhelms

This road traveled before
Hills and valleys are
Peaks and canyons

Waiting for word
Marred patience
Sleep delayed

Sunday, April 03, 2011


A single day in your courts
is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
Psalm 84:10-11

I read a headline yesterday that reported beautiful people live happier lives.  I suppose that could be true depending on one's definistion of happy. defines it as delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person; favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky. defines joy as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.  I realize many view happiness and joy as synonomous.  I view happiness as a superficial emotion.  Happiness comes and goes.  Joy, on the other hand, I see as a deep, abiding state of being.  Happiness is caused by the comings and goings of daily life.  Joy is within us and is not affected by external stimuli.  Happiness ebbs and flows and is available to everyone.  Joy is only achieved by a belief in God and in his ability to work within us.  Joy is not dependent on circumstances.  I can have the lowliest of positions and have an abiding joy.  That is the true measure of life.  No one and nothing can take that joy from me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Summary

March Miles: 110.3
2011 Total: 250.3

Stationary Bike: 3x for 42.4 miles
Walking: 2x for 6.2 miles
Strength Training: 10x!!!!!

High Point:  Consistency!  All around.  The only workouts I missed were 2 aerobic cross training sessions.  I still did my strength training those days.  No unscheduled rest days.  No injury. 

Low Point: Hmmm, I really can't think of anything really bad.  There were a couple of not great runs, but nothing horrible.

Best run(s):  Definitely the fartleks with Coelle--my only run with two-legged partner.  It is always AWESOME to run with her!  The other was the 400 repeats.  Incredibly fun workout.

Overall, a great month with increasing mileage--finally!  Feel like I am doing a better job of keeping my easy miles easy so I can really hit the hard workouts.  However, my easy miles are getting faster again.  I can hold a conversation with the dog at 9:30 pace again.  Hooray!  So looking forward to some warmer temperatures and maybe even some sunshine in April!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Incredible LSD

Today was a near perfect run.  Nine miles of spring loving hill running!  In spite of the forecasted rain, it was overcast with intermittent sunbreaks.  I planned a new route that heads out to the country.  My long runs are finally getting long enough to get off the city streets again.  Indy and I headed out about 8.  I started nice and easy.  My first 3 miles were the slowest of all.  The last 6 miles were within a few second of each other.  Perfect!  Indy stayed by my side--not pushing in front--and moving behind as the shoulder narrowed.  He did exactly as he is trained and not like he usually does like pulling ahead and trying to run exactly where my foot needs to land.  We completed the run faster than I anticipated and with ease.  Even the last hill felt good.  If I had remembered how hilly the road was, I probably would not have gone that way.  I have to credit my twice weekly strength training and mental for my increasing mastery of the hills. 

And, for the first time since last October, I finished the run with a tub full of cold water and ice.  I ended up filling the tub really full so the bath was all the way up to my waist!  Brrrrr!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Too Long

I cannot believe how long it has been since I have written!  Nearly every day, I write a post in my head, but it never seems to get completed.  So now I sit with thousands of thoughts clamoring to be heard. 

First, running,  It is often the first thought on my mind.  I am back at training.  I did my first track workout on the 18th.  I chose 8 x 400 with 200 recovery.  I don't know why I chose that, but I thought they were short enough that I could maintain focus and get it over quickly.  The plan was to take it pretty easy and run about an 8:20 pace for all repeats.  That didn't work too well.  The first was an even 2:00 (8:00).  Well, I thought, I did that now I couldn't do any slower...And low and behold, I did nearly that!  I lost that focus on the 5th and ended up with a 2:01, but all others were 1:52-59 (7:28-7:56).  I finished knowing I could run more, but would start to sacrifice my form before long.  I let it be what is was a near perfect workout and a HUGE confidence builder! 

My other runs have been going well, too.  This week I managed a 4 mile tempo at 8:29.  My current 5k PR is at 8:30.  Even my easy runs are speeding back up.  I can hold a conversation below 10:00s again.  Weekly mileage is building slowly and soon will be back to the 30-35 that I like.  I finally added 2 races to my calendar--a 5k in April and a 10k on Memorial Day.  I can't race often so these are two where I think I can PR.  The one on Memorial Day is tough with a huge large gigantic hill mountain at mile 3.  My current PR is from this course three years ago.  That was my last time I raced that distance.  Time to change that! 

Running is really coming together for me right now.  My weight is coming down slowly and my speed is starting to return from the long sickly winter.  The best part is that I am loving getting out there even in the rain.  Of course, I love that the sun is starting to peak through the more and more.  Spring brings the desire to run farther and faster.  My plan is to continue to increase my long runs back to around 14 miles and maintain 1-2 other hard workouts a week--intervals, tempos, fartleks, etc.  I heart running!

On another hand, I am doing something I have not done since high school.  I started to read the Bible through this year using a droid application from YouVersion.  It has several different reading plans.  I chose to read chronologically.  So, even though I am currently in I Samuel, there are Psalms interspersed according to when David wrote them. In high school, I used the King James version.  (Don't get me started!)  This time I am reading the New Living Translation.  Wow!  It is bringing it all to life!  I get so involved in the reading sometimes that I read multiple days.  The stories I heard as a kid are coming back in full color.  It is exciting! 

Lastly, my younger sister lives on 19 acres not far from me.  She is loving the farm life including her goats.  Spring is the time for new life!  Last week I headed over to see her new kids of the four legged kind.  Oh my goodness, they are soooooo cute!  The first was a single birth.  Snowflake had a difficult time and M and her husband had to pull the kid as both became very stressed.  Stormy seems like an appropriate name.  He was a big boy at nearly 10 pounds!  He loved running around and playing.  His mom was pretty nervous and stuck close to him.  Butterfly was bred to a Nigerian Dwarf.  Her twin girls, Marigold and Lavender, were 4.5 pounds and adorable.  At just a few days, they were climbing on a log and trying to knock each other off.  I ended up with muddy jeans as Stormy kept trying to jump up on me.  Goats do love to climb! 

I finished the visit reading my niece's writing assignments and offering suggestions and corrections.  I really enjoy being able to help her with her creative writing.  Her mom had me select a book for her to read and write her first book report.  I chose The Quilt by T. Davis Bunn.  It has been been a few years since I read it, but it is a great book.  It will be short and easy for her first.  Then we will move on to some others maybe Silas Marner by George Elliot. 

Some photos to make you smile!

M with Stormy

My niece with Marigold and Lavender
The twins are seriously adorable

Stormy frolics under Snowflakes watchful eye.

T with Butterfly and her girls

Stormy loves to chase my nephew around the trees.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Boys

I love my boys--my papillon-pomeranian boys.  The boys are twins--actually, they are the entire litter.  We have had them 3 years--since they were 3 months old.  They have grown up around people.  Believe it or not, they are tax deductions as they are for the care and comfort of our residents.  They bring great laughter with their antics at times.  They also drive us crazy other times.  We continue to threaten to trade them for goldfish, but so far haven't followed through on that.  The truth is that they would rather be with their dad than me.  However, when dad is gone they want me in sight.  The y love to sit on the back of the sofa so they can watch for intruders visitors.  Always helpful, they let us know if anyone arrives or walks by or is within miles of the place... 

Han Solo (Han) may be the smaller of the two, but he is the pack leader.  His brother will not approach the food or a toy until Han is finished or gives a sign.  At half the size, he is the one in charge!  Han is incredibly cuddly.  He would be perfectly happy if he were held 24/7.  Lap, arms, it doesn't matter.  Han has a liver disease and is on a low protein diet.  He is fine and should live a long life, but the disease has some neurological side effects.  He may be completely comfortable relaxing and suddnely jump up.  It is actually quite funny at times.  He will move his head around staring like he is watching a fly buzz about.  Only there is not fly.  Poor guy gets laughed at sometimes.  He is a scardey cat about a lot of things, but he will be the first to get comfortable with new people in the house.  He has spent hours relaxing at the feet of residents either in bed or in recliners.

Indiana Jones (Indy) is a completely different personality.  He is more shy around people, but far more active than his brother.  He is the one who wants to play.  He is my running partner.  He loves to get out there and encourage me to go faster and farther.  His longest run has been 14 miles.  Last week he ran 7 with me then went on an hour long walk later in the afternoon.  When he wants to cuddle, it needs to be on his terms.  He loves sitting half on the arm of a chair and the other half on a lap.  However, he will be the first to instigate wrestling with me or his brother to get a laugh. After a bath, he runs circles in the house rubbing his face on the carpet to dry. It takes him longer to warm up to people and will often back away if reached toward.  However, when you are his friend, he will do anything for you.  A couple of years ago, we had a resident who porfessed he "didn't like dogs" yet Indy was always able to get up on his lap and nap along with him.  Months later, the man was dying.  His family was unable to be with him.  Indy slept on his bed up close to him.  True friendship to the end.

The favorite place in the house unless they are being held or on dad's lap.

Indy is my awesome running partner. 

Han is the cuddly one.

Trying to get Indy to pose with me...

Not exactly the pose I had in mind...